Pinot Noir can be tricky in New Zealand. One sip of the 2007 Pyramid Valley Calvert Vineyard Pinot from the Central Otago region, though, and I was convinced. What a terrific Pinot! It has everything going for it: deep-flavored fruit that tastes of dark cherries and earth; a good structure and velvety tannins; and that quality hardest to find, character. You would be hard-pressed to find a Burgundy this good at this price. Save a bottle for a special occasion.
Serve it with wild mushrooms, game birds, braised meats and gratins.
Keep an eye out for Pyramid Valley's Eaton Family Pinot Noir as well.
S. Irene Virbila --
Region: Central Otago, New Zealand
Price: About $45
Style: Ripe and lush
What it goes with: Wild mushrooms, game birds, braised meats
Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, www.hitimewine.net; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, www.klwines.com; Mission Wines in South Pasadena, (626) 403-9463, www.missionwines.com; Vendome Liquors in Beverly Hills, (310) 276-9463; Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454 and (800) 76WINEX, www.winex.com; the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, www.winehouse.com; Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills, (818) 222-1111; and further north, 15 Degrees C Wine Shop in Templeton, (805) 434-1554; and DePalo & Sons in Shell Beach, (805) 773-1589, www.depaloandsons.com.